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Free Will and Classical TheismThe Significance of Freedom in Perfect Being Theology$
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Hugh J. McCann

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190611200

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190611200.001.0001

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Theological Fatalism as an Aporetic Problem

Theological Fatalism as an Aporetic Problem

(p.23) Chapter 2 Theological Fatalism as an Aporetic Problem
Free Will and Classical Theism

David P. Hunt

Oxford University Press

This essay by David Hunt considers the problem of theological fatalism, which appears to threaten either divine foreknowledge or human freedom, and should instead be treated as an “aporetic problem”—that is, as generating a puzzle. Zeno’s paradoxes of motion, for example, are rarely understood as posing a genuine threat to the possibility of motion; the real problem they pose is how best to rethink our assumptions or sharpen our conceptual tools so we don’t fall prey to the argument. There are good reasons for taking a similar approach to theological fatalism. The essay reviews some of these reasons and identifies Augustine as an early proponent of this approach. It then shows the implications of this approach for some important responses to the argument, including open theism, Boethianism, and Ockhamism, and concludes by arguing that an Augustinian/Frankfurtian denial of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) provides the most satisfying resolution of the aporia.

Keywords:   aporetic problem, Augustine, divine foreknowledge, human freedom, God, PAP, theological fatalism

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